Crossroads Food Pantry distributes 5,000 pounds of food in three hours

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 15, 2017

Over 130 households made up of 375 people benefitted from a Crossroads Food Pantry distribution event funded by Feeding the Gulf Coast who delivered 5,000 pounds of food.

“We are so thankful that [Feeding the Gulf Coast] picked us to receive the food because before this heavy load came in, we were empty,” Sharon Bonnecarrere, Crossroads Food Pantry director, said.

Feeding the Gulf Coast received eight grants from the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation to distribute at their discretion. And after applying, Crossroads Food Pantry received the bid to take part in a special give away of 5,000 pounds of food to spread amongst their regular guests as well as other needy families in the area, Bonnecarrere said.

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As crate after crate was unloaded from the delivery truck and hauled into the food pantry, Bonnecarrere said she thought back to the last time the organization received this much food two years ago.

“The last time we received a large amount of food like this, it was chaos to get all of it bagged and ready to distribute. Luckily, our volunteers work so well together and really come together to make it easier. We like to call it organized chaos,” she said.

The volunteers separated into teams, including bakery and desserts, canned foods, frozen food and meat, fresh produce and drinks, to quickly bag the items so each recipient was satisfied.

“We truly are blessed to be able to serve as many people as we do. Every person that comes to us for help is our main priority here and we want to make sure they are happy,” Bonnecarrere said.

The Pantry received the thousands of pounds of food just hours before distribution time, and as the clock started to wind down to the opening hour, a line began to grow outside the doors.

The pantry provides food to nearly 70 families on a regular basis.

However, with that amount of food coming in, Bonnecarrere said she wanted to reach out to the community to make sure no food went to waste.

“Receiving this grant means a lot to us. It’s a chance to help more people and a chance to spread the word that we are here for the local people of the community,” she said.

The Crossroads Food Pantry not only serves as a place for needy local families to come get a nice meal, it also serves as the hurricane preparedness center, where food can be distributed to those in need in case of an emergency.

In order to be better prepared, and to be able to keep more fresh food, a walk-in freezer will soon be installed, Bonnecarrere said.

The freezer is 11 feet by 11 feet and can store more food than the five small freezers currently on-hand.

“This is a product of all the kind donations we have received over the years. We cannot thank everyone enough for their gracious support for what we do,” she said.